Step-By-Step Guide to Connecting Through Vancouver (YVR) Airport Within Canada

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I almost missed my flight from Vancouver to Halifax because of the delay from my Seattle to Vancouver segment. I was concerned that we would not make the connection through Vancouver International Airport (YVR) airport. 

Therefore, I thought it may help other travelers who are interested to learn how connecting through Vancouver airport within Canada works.

Please note this guide is about transiting through Vancouver (YVR) airport to another Canadian airport within Canada. This guide is not meant for making a connection from Canada to the U.S. or Canada to International destinations.

Step-By-Step Guide to Connecting Through Vancouver (YVR) Airport Within Canada
Photo: Cape Breton Highlands National Park Skyline Trail
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    How much layover time is enough for connecting flights within Canada at Vancouver International Airport? 

    This is a million-dollar question to answer! 
    It depends entirely on the airline’s operation, weather, and other unforeseeable circumstances. It is impossible to know whether your flight into Vancouver airport is delayed, canceled, or on time. It’s the gamble we all do when we choose to fly. 
    To give you my experience, when I originally booked my flight from Seattle to Vancouver to Halifax, my connection in Vancouver was just 1h10m. I was skeptical about that! However, the main operating airline Air Canada assured me that the “legal” Minimum Connection Time (MCT) allowed is 40 minutes when connecting through Vancouver airport. But we all know that what Air Canada says about the MTC and the reality of trying to make those connections are completely two different things.
    If you ever wondered what the legal minimum connection time in each Canadian airport for traveling within Canada is, Air Canada provided the following information:
    • Calgary – 35 minutes
    • Charlottetown – 30 minutes
    • Edmonton – 35 minutes
    • Fredericton – 30 minutes
    • Halifax – 30 minutes
    • Moncton – 30 minutes
    • Montreal – 40 minutes
    • Ottawa – 35 minutes
    • Quebec City – 20 minutes
    • Regina – 30 minutes
    • Saint John, NB – 30 minutes
    • Saskatoon – 20 minutes
    • St John’s, NL – 25 minutes
    • Thunder Bay – 15 minutes
    • Toronto – 40 minutes
    • Vancouver – 40 minutes
    • Winnipeg – 25 minutes
    • Check here for up-to-date Air Canada’s Minimum Connection Times.
    I later decided to change my ticket with a 5 hours connection instead, and in the worst case, I would enjoy lounge hopping at Vancouver airport. Surprisingly, the flight was delayed for over 4 hours in Seattle, and we barely had about 30 minutes to make our connection from Vancouver to Halifax after arriving in Vancouver. Still, we made it after fast-paced walking, and sitting up front on the plane did help too. Kudos to Vancouver airport for making domestic connections as painless as possible for air travelers. More below. 
    Ultimately, it comes down to how comfortable you feel about your flight’s connecting time. No fortune teller can tell you for sure whether your flight will be on time or not until a few days before your departure date, up to the day of departure. I can tell you that connecting through Vancouver airport within Canada is well streamlined and organized with sufficient signs, and best of all, you do not need to clear security again to get to your departure gate. See the step-by-step guide to connecting through Vancouver airport within Canada below. 

    Do you have to go through security again in Vancouver for a connecting flight within Canada?

    No, you do not! There’s no security screening through Canada Connection at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). See the steps below. 

    Step-By-Step Guide to Connecting Through Vancouver (YVR) Airport Within Canada

    Please note that this guide is not meant for making a connection from Canada to the U.S. or Canada to International flights. This guide is for making a domestic connection within Canada through Vancouver International Airport (YVR). 
    I applaud Vancouver International Airport (YVR) for making the transiting process within Canada streamlined and organized with posted signs. Here’s what you will expect when you transit through Vancouver airport to another airport within Canada:
    • After you deplane in Vancouver, follow the sign for Canada Connection. Do not confuse it with any other signs! Just stick to these two words: Canada Connection
    • You will get to a few kiosk machines where you get your passport scanned and get your picture taken. Meanwhile, you also answer some custom and declaration questions through the kiosk machine. There will be friendly airport personnel there to help you out if needed. 
    • After you finish, the kiosk machine will generate a paper slip for you to take to passport control. The agent will take the slip from you and ask you a few simple questions about your trip. There’s no passport stamped, at least for the U.S. passports.
    • You continue walking and see another airport personnel who will scan your boarding pass
    • After that, you walk for about 3 more minutes by continue following the sign for gate ABC
    • You will see the TV screen monitors where you can check your gate information. Simply follow the sign to your departure gate. There’s no security screening anymore through Canada Connection


    Therefore, as you can see from the steps above, Canada Connection through Vancouver airport is not that bad. The best part is that you do not need to go through another security again to your departure gate. The process just requires a lot of walking, that’s all. I was able to complete all these in around 20 minutes, but I have been told that I am a fast walker 🙂

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